Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak announced Sunday morning that top pitching prospect Carlos Martinez — who has been serving as a reliever this year for St. Louis — will make a spot start Monday night in the club’s series opener at home against the visiting Mets. This according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Martinez is filling in for Adam Wainwright, who is being skipped with mild right elbow discomfort.
The 22-year-old Dominican right-hander owns a pedestrian 4.86 ERA in 63 major league innings, but he possesses excellent raw stuff and has at times looked dominant. Baseball America ranked him a Top 35 prospect this winter.
This will be the second major league start for Martinez, who carries the upside of a future ace.
Wainwright, the Cardinals’ current ace, is expected to return to the rotation next weekend.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.